Knicks Online https://www.knicksonline.com A Classic New York Knicks Fan Site Wed, 23 May 2018 15:51:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 What does the Fizdale hire change? https://www.knicksonline.com/columns/what-does-the-fizdale-hire-change.html https://www.knicksonline.com/columns/what-does-the-fizdale-hire-change.html#respond Mon, 14 May 2018 17:58:43 +0000 https://www.knicksonline.com/?p=305178 It was announced on May 4th that David Fizdale is to become the next head coach of the New York Knicks.

The team signed him to a 4-year contract that will make him the first new coach in the post-Jackson era.

Among the coaches they interviewed were former Warriors coach Mark Jackson, former Cavaliers coach David Blatt, former Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer, Heat assistant Juwan Howard, Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga, Clippers assistant Mike Woodson, Spurs assistant James Borrego, and Toronto G League coach Jerry Stackhouse.

Recently fired Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek was not a bad coach, in my opinion, but he was not hired by the current front office and this hire presses the full reset button on the Phil Jackson tenure. So, this hire was really about putting the next foot forward with a different front office.

Fizdale was surprisingly fired by the Memphis Grizzlies last year after the team’s 7-12 start to the season (a .368 win percentage), and the team only got worse finishing with a 22-60 record and a .268 win percentage.

While many saw Fizdale as the “fall guy” for their failures, in reality it was due to the lack of talent in Memphis. The year before, he leads the Grizzlies to the playoffs, taking the 7 seed and pushing the 2-seeded Spurs to 6 games. Before this, he most notably served as an assistant under Erik Spoelstra’s dynastic Miami Heat for 9 years.

So, why did the Knicks hire him?

First off, they made this move in the hope that Fizdale could model the team to be more “modern” on offense.

During prior years in Memphis, the team was the epitome of pre-Warriors, grind-in-the-post, inefficient basketball. However, when David Fizdale was given the reigns, he shifted the offensive dynamic of the team into more of a flexible, shooting team.

This can be seen best when he pulled bulky, slow Power Forward Zach Randolph from the starting lineup in place of the more versatile Mychael Green. This provided the team with more shooting and switchability on defense.

So, it is not crazy to say that Fizdale should help the Knicks’ offense become more “modern” and 3-point oriented. Bottom line effects of this are that we become more like the teams that are in the Western Conference Finals in shooting more 3-pointers, and I believe this rate will help Kristaps Porzingis be better utilized off of the ball and shoot more catch-and-shoot jumpers.

More on offense, it is notable that David Fizdale likes using point guards. In Memphis, Mike Conley had a top 20 usage rate of players who qualified, and it is safe to say that Conley is not a top 20 player or someone who should be having higher usage in 2016-2017 than Kevin Durant and Gordon Hayward. Aside from this also being a modern strategy, the use of the point guards will help develop guys like Trey Burke, Frank Ntilikina, and Emmanuel Mudiay more quickly.

From his interviews, defense seems to be Coach Fizdale’s top priority.

The Grizzlies processed a physical defensive culture, and while that was not established by him, Fizdale knows how to run a team focusing on defense.

In his only full year as coach, Memphis reflected his defensive focus by posting a top-3 points allowed per game in the league. Now, how that will translate, I am not sure, but the first and last words in all his interviews surround the topic of defense, so he will at least give it his best shot. In his world, he says that he can develop Mudiay and Ntilikina into hustling and defending monsters.

This won’t come to fruition if he is also pushing them with high usage rates, but I believe that at least he can instill a solid defensive mindset into them.

I am not going to sit here and claim that Fizdale is going to fix everything right away, or even that he is going to fix most things at all. Anything in that matter would really just be speculation. Rather, I have laid out a plan for what Fizdale aims to do in the Big Apple, and have shown that his past experiences leave him well suited to execute and demonstrate that he can make the correct adjustments for this new franchise.

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David Fizdale Can Fix the Knicks https://www.knicksonline.com/columns/david-fizdale-can-fix-the-knicks.html https://www.knicksonline.com/columns/david-fizdale-can-fix-the-knicks.html#respond Wed, 09 May 2018 10:16:46 +0000 https://www.knicksonline.com/?p=299252 The New York Knicks’ coaching search was a thorough one, to say the least, with the team bringing in multiple candidates before making a final hiring decision. And after big names like Mark Jackson, David Blatt and others were considered, the hierarchy opted to go with David Fizdale.

Fortunately for the Knicks, they may have gotten this decision right, as Fizdale is the kind of coach that may finally be able to right the ship in New York.

Fixing the Knicks’ Defense

When the Knicks decided to fire head coach Jeff Hornacek, they did so with their defense in mind. The team was in the bottom third of the league in points allowed last season, giving up 108 per game. That simply was not going to get the job done, whereas the hiring of Fizdale was a sign that the team was ready to address their problems on that side of the floor.

Fizdale, in his two years at the helm as the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, was a proficient defensive coach. Despite being known for his “take that for data” rant following a loss to the San Antonio Spurs, his Grizzlies did put on defensive clinics regularly. In the 2016-2017 season, Memphis was the third-best team in the league in terms of points allowed per game, and were in the top ten in defensive rating as well. For a Knicks team that has struggled to get stops, Fizdale could be a great way to fix that.

When it comes to the NBA Playoffs, it is a must to be able to lock in and get stops on the defensive end. This is evidenced by odds to win the NBA Finals. As of May 8, 2018, the Golden State Warriors are – 125 to win the NBA Finals at Betway, thanks to their ability to lock down on the defensive end of the floor. With Fizdale in charge, the Knicks may be able to get some stops and dramatically improve their odds next season and beyond.

Fizdale’s To-Do List

For David Fizdale to fix the Knicks, there are a few things that he will need to do early in his tenure as head coach. Doing these things can help reverse the damage of the Phil Jackson era, and get the team back on track in their rebuilding efforts. And of course, failure to accomplish these items will make Fizdale’s tenure in New York a short one.

At the top of Fizdale’s list needs to be mending the club’s relationship with star big man Kristaps Porzingis. The new Knicks coach is meeting with Porzingis in his native Latvia with the intention of making Porzingis feel every bit like the star that he is. Porzingis averaged over 20 points per game with the Knicks last season before having to shut things down for the year due to injury concerns.

If Fizdale can make Porzingis feel important, he will be able to go a long way toward making sure that the Latvian stays in New York. In the past, Porzingis has hinted at leaving the Knicks at the end of his contract. That would force the Knicks to start back at square one in their rebuilding efforts, and Fizdale needs to do what he can to avoid it.

The point guard position is another area that Fizdale needs to figure out. The Knicks have three point guards currently, and need to choose who to put their faith in going forward. Young players Frank Ntilikina, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Trey Burke have all shown promise at times. But promise will not translate to wins in the playoffs, and Fizdale needs to evaluate which of these players gives the team the best chance to win going forward.

There are, of course, plenty of other areas that Fizdale will need to work on as the head man of the Knicks. But defense, keeping Kristaps Porzingis, and determining who their point guards will be are his most urgent priorities. If he can get those areas settled and the team can buy into his defensive philosophy, there is a chance that the Knicks can be a playoff team within Fizdale’s first season in charge of the team. No matter what, though, the Fizdale hire was a smart one at the time.

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Knicks hire David Fizdale as head coach https://www.knicksonline.com/news/knicks-hire-david-fizdale-as-head-coach.html https://www.knicksonline.com/news/knicks-hire-david-fizdale-as-head-coach.html#respond Fri, 04 May 2018 18:15:19 +0000 https://www.knicksonline.com/?p=293318 After meeting with several possible candidates for the position of head coach of the New York Knicks, among which Mike Brown, David Blatt, Juwan Howard or Mark Jackson, GM Scott Perry and President Steve Mills found the guy that will lead the Knicks over the next four years in David Fizdale.

The parts entered negotiations following a meeting on Thursday in New York City between Fizdale on one hand and James Dolan on the other hand, who then gave his approval to Perry and Mills, as reported by ESPN.

Once the deal sealed, Fizdale set his first move as he plans to travel in Europe and meet with Kristaps Porzingis in Latvia to build a solid relationship. A call that resembled to the one Pat Riley made when he was hired as the head coach for the Knicks back in 1991, with his first order of business being the relationship with Patrick Ewing.

Before getting to New York, Fizdale coached the Memphis Grizzlies for one season and led them into the Western Conference playoffs. The Knicks haven’t played a post season game since 2013.

David Fizdale was also part of the Miami Heat championship team when he was an assistant to Eric Spoelstra for eight years. Spoelstra had nothing but nice words to say about him.

“He’s a brilliant basketball mind that has exceptional, gold-standard level communication skills. He’s one of my best friends. But I say that objectively. I just think he’s one of the most talented coaches I’ve been around.”

Eric Spoelstra

 

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Who is the Point Guard of the Future? https://www.knicksonline.com/columns/who-is-the-point-guard-of-the-future.html https://www.knicksonline.com/columns/who-is-the-point-guard-of-the-future.html#respond Sun, 15 Apr 2018 06:30:15 +0000 https://www.knicksonline.com/?p=267594 Although New York City boasts the production of many talented, crafty point guards (such as Kemba Walker and Stephon Marbury), the New York Knicks roster has not featured a superstar or even All-Star point guard in recent memory.

Aside from a few exceptions in the top tier of small forwards, including LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and Giannis Antetokounmpo, the most talented position in today’s NBA is the point guard.

Nearly every year, the Western Conference has a star point guard like Chris Paul or Damian Lillard, both top 25 players in the NBA, snubbed from the All-Star roster. Similarly, three candidates to replace injured players on the Eastern Conference All-Star roster were floor generals Goran Dragic, Kemba Walker, and Ben Simmons.

Considering that there is so much talent at the position, it is remarkable that the Knicks have had trouble filling out their roster with talented point guards.

Looking forward, as the Knicks look to rebuild the team, there are three point guards that are sharing minutes because their potential is still not proven; it is potential after all. However, they have all shown flashes while all being age 25 or younger.

Now, the front office must decide which of Frank Ntilikina, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Trey Burke to bet on. So, let’s take a look at the potential point guards of the future for the Knicks and how likely they are to fulfill what New York needs.

Frank Ntilikina – the main option

Frank Ntilikina’s potential is the most unsure of these three young men.

He was drafted as a point guard, but in his rookie year, he seems to be in between the point guard and shooting guard positions.

His 6’6 height and unbelievable 7’0 wingspan allow him to play as a combo guard for now. This length is also the reason that Ntilikina’s biggest strength is his defense. He has already proven he can play phenomenal defense on some of the best guards in the league by holding Chris Paul and John Wall scoreless on a combined 24 possessions when they were matched up.

The combination of his visible length and proven skill lead me to believe he has the potential to be a top three defensive guard in the league. Ntilikina’s offensive abilities are weaker largely due to his lack of a consistent jumper.

However, he seems to have the poise and skill to at least keep the defense honest, if not be an offensive weapon in the future. His struggles on the offensive side boil down to that he just isn’t “Americanized” in his style of play, meaning that he does not have the same development of certain skills that are being taught to many young, American-born players. Specifically, in this notion, I notice that he is slow when handling the ball and is, therefore, not explosive when attacking the basket. This is the primary reason for his lack of playmaking ability.

He also does not have a satisfactory 3 point shot yet, but his mechanics appear sound and hard work could be huge dividends. As long as Frank continues to work hard and adapt to the NBA style of play, I can see him becoming a slightly above average starter (similar to current Reggie Jackson) that could help establish a defensive culture in New York.

Emmanuel Mudiay – The backup

Considering that he was picked up in the first half of the 2015 draft lottery, Emmanuel Mudiay’s career has been disappointing so far in that he hasn’t made tremendous progress since his first season.

His greatest strength is that he is very quick, which gives his dribble-drive game potential. However, his jump shot is nowhere to be seen.

I believe that his lack of a jump shot will stop him from becoming a respectable scorer since the defense can simply sag off. Finally, it has been publicized correctly that Mudiay turns the ball over a disproportional amount.

This is common with young point guards, but this is Mudiay’s third year and he is yet to cut his turnover numbers down, which is a red flag.

Although Mudiay is less athletic and an overall worse version, he is similar to a poor man’s Russell Westbrook in his athleticism, large turnover count and lack of a jump shot. I would put him as the lowest potential because he is, in my opinion, the least productive and most limited.

Trey Burke – The surprise element

Because of Burke’s prior play, I never would have expected him to be the most promising point guard on an NBA roster this season.

However, after his recent unsuccessful stint coming off the Wizards’ bench, Burke has experienced a revival after signing with the Knicks in January after playing with its G-League affiliate in the first half of the season.

Burke’s play in recent games has been the most impressive out of the three young candidates, but he is already 25 years old, while the others are 19 and 22.

As a viewer, I am forced to ask the question of where Frank Ntilikina will be compared to current Burke at the same age, 6 years from now.

Yet, there is still no denying that Burke has the talent to continue to put up sudden outbursts of potential as seen on March 26th against the Hornets, when he dropped a casual 42 points and 12 assists.

He is extremely athletic and uses change of direction extremely well.

Burke’s 3-point shot is inconsistent, but when he is hot, then his explosiveness and ability to shoot from range can make him a handful.

Down the line, his game will be limited without a jumpshot, but shooting is teachable; Burke’s current skillset is not.

I am reluctant to place him on a pedestal as New York’s savior because he can score the ball sometimes, but I would like him to be the man until Ntilikina (hopefully) surpasses him with time.

***

Oh, and there is a secret 4th option to find our PG of the future: The 2018 NBA Draft.

Yes, after talking about three young point guards that already have a roster spot, I still would consider drafting another one because there are two talents that look very appealing.

The team is projected to pick either 8th or 9th in the draft, and both Collin Sexton and Trae Young are projected to be picked in the 6-11 range.

Picking another guard seems unnecessary when we have zero young wing assets with impressive potential, but this draft is stocked with centers and point guards while the only wings conceivable to draft are Mikal or Miles Bridges.

Not going too far in depth, I think the two floor generals mentioned have high ceilings.

Collin Sexton is already in New York’s heart because of his 40 point performance at the Barclays Center. He is strong, athletic, and a flat out shot maker who will translate well into the NBA.

With Trae Young, the same athleticism is certainly not there, but he has shown that he can handle insane media attention like that in New York. He is a hit or miss prospect, and while his floor is Jimmer Fredette, his ceiling could be through the roof if he can put everything together at the next level.

I am still not fully committed to any one of our current players.

Because we lack a combination of offensive upside and youth in a single player, I lean towards drafting another point guard.

Both still might be available, and while I am overlooking guys like Mikal Bridges, I don’t think drafting a SF just because we could use one for next season is smart for years to come.

The ceiling for our three current guys does not seem very high or certain as I believe that Mudiay is a 6th man at best, Trey can be no more than a starter for a playoff team, and Frank is a huge question mark.

So, the draft seems appealing, but the grass is always greener, and we could also accidentally clog up the young PG position. Either way, the Knick’s front office has some decisions to make when it comes to the future of point guards in the Big Apple.

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Jeff Hornacek relieved from duties. Rambis too. https://www.knicksonline.com/news/jeff-hornacek-relieved-from-duties-rambis-too.html https://www.knicksonline.com/news/jeff-hornacek-relieved-from-duties-rambis-too.html#respond Thu, 12 Apr 2018 20:03:09 +0000 https://www.knicksonline.com/?p=265034 Head coach Jeff Hornacek was relieved from his duties after the win in Cleveland, the official site of the New York Knicks reported.

Hornacek, who still had one year of contract, became head coach of the Knicks on June, 2016 and with him in charge, New York went 60-104 during a span of two seasons.

Alongside Hornacek, Kurt Rambis was also relieved from his duties after being part of the team for the past four seasons.

So far, the candidates that appeal to Steve Mills and Scott Perry are Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy, Doc Rivers, Jerry Stackhouse, David Fizdale, David Blatt and Craig Robinson.

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Knicks wrap up season with win in Cleveland (110-96) https://www.knicksonline.com/recaps/knicks-wrap-up-season-with-win-in-cleveland-110-96.html https://www.knicksonline.com/recaps/knicks-wrap-up-season-with-win-in-cleveland-110-96.html#respond Thu, 12 Apr 2018 19:36:55 +0000 https://www.knicksonline.com/?p=264753 The New York Knicks ended another season without making it into the playoffs, with a success against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

With LeBron James and most of their starters being limited to just 11 minutes or less, New York cruised over Cleveland to a 110-96 victory at the Quicken Loans arena.


1 2 3 4 T
Knicks 20 37 27 26 110
Cavaliers 20 17 34 27 98

Boxscore


The Knicks were led by rookie Luke Kornet who scored a career high 23 points in 28 minutes, shooting 9-14 from the field, including 4-7 from long distance. Trey Burke added 19 points and was just one assist away of a double-double while Frank Ntilikina dropped 16 buckets.

The second quarter marked one of the best periods for the Knicks, when they outscored their opponents by a margin of 20 points. From that moment on, the game was in the books.

James, who played his 82th game of the season set a new personal record, being for the first time in his career when he carried out a regular season without missing a game.

With this win, the Knicks now fall to 9th lottery seed and still hold a big chance of picking only 10th, while the Cavaliers, who own Nets’ pick, will most likely select before New York.

 

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Damyean Dotson sets team record as the Knicks crush the Heat, 122-98 https://www.knicksonline.com/recaps/damyean-dotson-sets-team-record-as-the-knicks-crush-the-heat-122-98.html https://www.knicksonline.com/recaps/damyean-dotson-sets-team-record-as-the-knicks-crush-the-heat-122-98.html#respond Sat, 07 Apr 2018 15:05:13 +0000 https://www.knicksonline.com/?p=258229 It was one of those nights that started good for the Knicks and ended terrific. Second round pick, rookie Damyean Dotson set a team record, after he posted 30 points and 11 rebounds in Knicks 122-98 win over the Heat at the Garden.


1 2 3 4 T
Heat 23 27 28 20 98
Knicks 34 29 33 26 122

Boxscore


Another strong statement came from Luke Kornet, who also finished with career numbers, scoring 17 points.

Both rookies made four three pointers as the Knicks made 18 shots from long distance, a season best.

Trey Burke delivered 17 buckets and Kyle O’Quinn dropped a 14 & 14 double double.

The Knicks dominated their rivals on both ends of the floor and posted better numbers at all chapters. They outrebounded Miami 51-42, dished 33 assists versus just 20 by the other side and shot over 50% from the field compared to Heat’s 39,8%.

However, it was not all pretty. Tim Hardaway Jr. sprained his left ankle and will probably miss the rest of the season. Hardaway, who missed 22 games this season with a stress fracture, was helped off the court straight to the locker room. Fortunately, the X-rays were negative.

Michael Beasley was another blow for the Knicks as he bruised his left knee with just 18 seconds into the game.

Miami was led by Goran Dragic who scored 15 points, Hassan Whiteside added 14 and Joe Johnson dropped 12 points.

The Knicks will host tonight the 42-37 Bucks and end the season with a couple of matchups against the Cavaliers.

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Knicks collapse in second half as they lose 97-73 to Magic https://www.knicksonline.com/recaps/knicks-collapse-in-second-half-as-they-lose-97-73-to-magic.html https://www.knicksonline.com/recaps/knicks-collapse-in-second-half-as-they-lose-97-73-to-magic.html#respond Wed, 04 Apr 2018 16:29:38 +0000 https://www.knicksonline.com/?p=254246 The Knicks started another game well, only to quit playing after halftime as they marked their 51st loss of the season, 97-73 to the Orlando Magic.


1 2 3 4 T
Magic 27 19 22 29 97
Knicks 25 20 16 12 73

Boxscore


However, things are not as dramatic as they seem since the loss came against a lottery rival, and yet the Magic hold a far worse record, New York are now ahead of Chicago in the draft table.

Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Knicks with 16 points and Kyle O’Quinn added 13 buckets and 12 boards. Most of the numbers were put in the first half while in the second, they barely tried, shooting 1-5, respectively 2-3.

Trey Burke contributed with 15 points in another start and Courtney Lee, off the bench, dropped 13.

The Magic, on the other hand, had Mario Hezonja scoring a game high 19 points while the undrafted Jamel Artis scored a season-high 16 points off the bench.

With four more games on the calendar, all of them against playoff teams, Hardaway called his teammates and asked them to show pride in what’s left.

“I want to see pride. What do we have to lose? Other teams destroyed our season, so let’s do a good job of making these guys that are going to the playoffs next couple of games to make it difficult for them.”

Tim Hardaway Jr.

With only 73 points scored, the Knicks matched their season low, originally set on January 31st against the Celtics.

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Knicks mark their 50th loss as they fall 115-109 to Pistons https://www.knicksonline.com/recaps/knicks-mark-their-50th-loss-as-they-fall-115-109-to-pistons.html https://www.knicksonline.com/recaps/knicks-mark-their-50th-loss-as-they-fall-115-109-to-pistons.html#respond Sun, 01 Apr 2018 11:48:26 +0000 https://www.knicksonline.com/?p=250061 Michael Beasley led the Knicks with 32 points, tying his season-high, shooting 14-21 from the field but the Knicks fell again, as the Detroit Pistons outscored them 115-109 at the Garden.


1 2 3 4 T
Pistons 30 26 29 30 115
Knicks 27 27 30 25 109

Boxscore


The Knicks played without Frank Ntilikina, Enes Kanter and Courtney Lee, while the Pistons had Blake Griffin on the injury list.

The third quarter had the Knicks building a 7 point lead, but after an 11-0 run by the Pistons the fun was over and the Knicks never got ahead again.

Trey Burke scored 18 points and dished 15 assists while Tim Hardaway Jr. dropped also 18 buckets.

The Pistons were led by Andre Drummond with 22 points and 17 boards, followed by Anthony Tolliver and Reggie Jackson with 17 points each.

The Knicks lock their fourth straight season of at least 50 losses for the first time since the early 60’s.

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Knicks fall to Sixers, 118-101 https://www.knicksonline.com/recaps/knicks-fall-to-sixers-118-101.html https://www.knicksonline.com/recaps/knicks-fall-to-sixers-118-101.html#respond Thu, 29 Mar 2018 19:02:24 +0000 https://www.knicksonline.com/?p=246526 Michael Beasley and Emmanuel Mudiay led the Knicks with 22 points each but the effort wasn’t enough against a much more motivated 76ers team that have clinched just a few days ago a playoff spot for the first time in six years, and dropped 118-101 at the Wells Fargo Center.


1 2 3 4 T
Knicks 28 35 17 21 101
Sixers 37 30 26 25 118

Boxscore


Trey Burke, who posted career numbers in the previous matchup, scored 18 points and dished 6 assists in his third start with the Knicks, while Enes Kanter dropped his usual double-double with 17 buckets and 14 boards.

The Sixers were led by Dario Saric with 26 points and 14 rebounds, followed by JJ Redick who scored 21.

Joel Embiid suffered a game ending injury in the second quarter after colliding with teammate Markelle Fultz but the team reported after being tested at the hospital that there was no concussion.

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